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Apple Wins Ruling in New York iPhone Hacking Order

A federal judge denied the United States government’s request to open an Apple iPhone in a drug case in New York, a move that gives Apple’s pro-privacy stance a boost and that has implications for other cases where federal investigators are trying to get data from tech companies.

Magistrate Judge James Orenstein in New York’s Eastern District said in a ruling on Monday that the United States government couldn’t use a law called the All Writs Act to force Apple to hack into an iPhone that was seized in connection with a drug case. The government overstepped what the All Writs Act was intended for, the judge wrote.

“After reviewing the facts in the record and the parties’ arguments, I conclude that none of those factors justifies imposing on Apple the obligation to assist the government’s investigation against its will,” Judge Orenstein wrote. “I therefore deny the motion.”

The All Writs Act is also at the center of Apple’s recent fight with the F.B.I. over a phone used by one of the attackers in last year’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. A federal magistrate judge in California ordered Apple to help break into the device, prompting Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, to publicly defy the order.

In the San Bernardino case, the government goes beyond using the All Writs Act to ask Apple for data and also asks the company to create new software that would help it to bypass security functions on an iPhone.

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NYT > Technology

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